The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse joined New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster in Hanover Tuesday afternoon. They spoke as part of a discussion on the opioid crisis hosted by Dartmouth College.Read More
New Hampshire's so-called "drug czar" is stepping down.
James Vara, who held the position for the past year, has been nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu to serve as Chief of Staff for the Attorney General. The Executive Council must approve Vara's new position at next week's meeting.Read More
Secretary Tom Price, flanked by Governor Chris Sununu and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, during a listening session in Concord.
After visiting Michigan and West Virginia, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price swung through Concord and Manchester Wednesday on a ‘listening tour’ regarding the opioid epidemic. Price spent about an hour at the State House meeting in private with treatment providers, families affected by opioid misuse and first responders.
At a press conference afterwards, he called the visit an opportunity to see what’s working in the field, and said Washington is taking action.
“The Department is all in, the President is all in. He has such passion for this issue, because he knows the misery and the suffering that has occurred across this land, and wants to help, help solve it,” said Price.
He pointed to the recent allotment of $3.1 million to New Hampshire as evidence of the federal government’s resolve--and said more money to fight opioid misuse is on the way.
Price also defended the American Health Care Act, which was passed by House Republicans earlier this month. Critics argue that bill’s elimination of the Medicaid expansion program will make getting addiction treatment harder for low income residents. Price, though, says the bill will give everyone the kind of coverage they want.
“I think it is important to step back and say is the Medicaid program the most appropriate program for every individual in that economic setting?” said Price. “Is there a better way to provide coverage? Is there a better way to provide services?”
Those aren’t just rhetorical questions as Senators now take up the health care bill. For his part, Governor Chris Sununu spoke with some optimism about what lawmakers in Washington may craft.
“Failure to reform our healthcare system in the United States is not an option,” said Sununu. “It is absolutely not an option. I appreciate the forward progress that the House made. We have to move that ball forward. I do have reservations, in some areas where you look at the details, severe reservations about what was passed, but people have to understand this is simply one part of the process.”
Sununu didn’t provide details on his reservations. But for Democrats, the message they wanted to make clear to Secretary Price was that repealing Medicaid expansion in the midst of an opioid epidemic would be a mistake. Representative Annie Kuster says she and treatment providers repeatedly brought this up during the private listening session.
“Our community is at risk, and we need to make it very clear to Secretary Price and others in this administration that we need access to treatment and recovery through the Medicaid expansion,” said Kuster.
Price was joined in Concord by Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to President Trump and one of the administration's fiercest defenders. She says the opioid epidemic is one of the rare areas where both Democrats and Republicans can and should agree.
“We look at this as a non-partisan issue in need of a bipartisan solution. And we are working with people on both sides of the aisle in Washington and within each of the states to do exactly that,” said Conway.
How to craft that solution and a new health care law, however, continues to divide the parties.
A statewide drug enforcement program known as “Granite Hammer” is getting some pushback from lawmakers who argue it isn’t working.
The program, which began in Manchester in 2015, is designed to get drug dealers off the streets.Read More
During a swing through the Seacoast Friday morning, Governor Chris Sununu stopped by the local Opioid Task Force in Dover.
Reflecting on the crisis, he said the state could be doing better with drug prevention programs for kids in school.Read More
After more than 1,600 drug-overdose deaths over the last five years, Timothy Rourke, longtime advocate for expanded treatment and recovery services, says the state may be reaching a turning point.
A New Hampshire physician's assistant was arrested Friday by federal agents on allegations he received kickbacks for prescribing large amounts of an opioid painkiller. According to officials, Clough was the state's top prescriber of a fentanyl spray called Subsys.Read More
Their mug shots are now regularly featured in the news -- people swept up in Operation Granite Hammer, an anti-drug enforcement program that started in 2015. Since then, police have made more than 100 drug arrests. They have been particularly tough on dealers whose deals turn lethal, pursuing long sentences in those cases. But many on the treatment end warn tough sentences and tactics do little to quell the demand for drugs, and dealers themselves are often addicts, who need care, not incarceration.Read More
Following the introduction of new prescribing guidelines, surgeons at Dartmouth-Hitchcock are reducing the number of opioids they give patients after undergoing certain minor procedures.
Doctors say the initiative is an important step in reducing the number of painkillers available as the state reels from an ongoing opioid epidemic.Read More
When President Barack Obama signed the “21st Century Cures Act” into law last year, New Hampshire officials anticipated getting $10 million over the next biennium. That number has dropped to $6 million.Read More